What do you get for the dad who has everything?

By Pamela Brownstein

I am faced with this dilemma every year: What do I get my husband, Daniel, for Father’s Day?

I am a notoriously poor gift-giver. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s mostly that I am so last minute: By the time I think of something thoughtful and cool, it’s the day before and too late to find it or order it, and I usually give up in frustration.

It’s in that moment of frustration I think, “In the past two years, I’ve given him two beautiful children, really, what more does he want?”

But once I get past that flash of selfishness, I realize that the hardest part for me is finding a gift that represents all that Daniel does for his children and his family. How can I find a gift that equals his patience and kindness and involvement? What item can express my love and gratitude for being understanding and funny, even when we are completely exhausted at the end of the day?

Of course, I knew when we got married that Daniel would be a good dad. But this year has proven that he’s not just a good dad, but a great father. With a 2-year-old boy and a 9-month-old girl, these are chaotic times in our house as we navigate through Babyland. With both of us working, things can get stressful when the baby gets fussy or our toddler throws a temper tantrum and won’t go to sleep in his big boy bed.

Through it all, though, Daniel has shown me what it means to be a good parent in all the little things he does for the kids, especially for our son, Wolfe.

He goes to great lengths to make sure that Wolfe has healthy, balanced meals and tries a variety of food. It’s such a sweet act to see Daniel cut a cucumber into little bites, and add just a dollop of ranch dressing to the plate. Then he watches proudly as Wolfe eats every bite.

He also goes online and researches popular children’s books so when he goes to the library during his lunch hour at work he can pick out the best books to bring home to read with Wolfe. And even though he’s probably read “Curious George Makes Pancakes” more than 100 times, he still uses funny voices and reads it in bed with Wolfe when he asks.

With our daughter, Selah, even though I spend all day with her at home, as soon as her dad walks into the room, her fat little face lights up with a big smile — revealing her two little bottom teeth — and she can’t crawl to him fast enough.

I’m also trying not to take it personally that her first word was “Da-da.” (OK, I get it. Mama’s on deadline and wishes Dada were home too, but you don’t see me saying his name every five minutes.)

But even though I don’t say it enough, I couldn’t be more proud of Daniel or more grateful to have him in my life. I’ve watched him evolve from a father-to-be who had never even changed a diaper to a full-fledged, hands-on dad who doesn’t think twice about cleaning a dirty diaper and knows just the right combination of powder and Desitin to fight diaper rash.

So this year, in addition to my unending love, I want to give him something special. And I think it will be exciting to see the look on his face when I reveal his gift. Surprise! Here’s the double jogging stroller you’ve always wanted!




• The Chocolate Tree makes special treats that will make dad smile.

• Specialty olive oils and vinegars from Olive the Above will definitely impress the man who loves to cook.

• Upgrade dad’s old grill with an awesome new version from Grayco.


Bay Street Outfitters has gear for guys as well as fishing equipment.

A yearlong pass to Hunting Island State Park will save money when the whole family goes to the beach.


Lulu Burgess carries a variety of humorous cards and books that will make any funny father chuckle.


Book a family photo session with a local photographer for memories that will last a lifetime.


Piggly Wiggly features an excellent growler station and selection of unique craft beer.

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